March 10th, 2002

abstract butterfly

The Lord God sits on a 3 Foot Bench

On my way to take a walk at East Fork park in McKinney (a nice but all too short wooded walk
along Wilson Creek), the NPR show "Living on Earth" had a piece about the search through the
MS and Louisiana woods for the ivory-billed woodpecker. I never knew it by that name, but I wondered for a moment, until a voice with an
accent like mine said its *true* name, the
Lord God Woodpecker. When I was a child, my mother put in our side yard one of those stone
little Greek benches--three feet high, the kind
made for ornamentation rather than utility. (very Southern Living, 1970s, as were camellias japonica, always known simply as japonicas).
For a couple of summers in a row, a giant, regal
woodpecker would come and sit on that little bench literally as though it were the catbird seat itself. We'd never seen such a thing, but
one of the local town fellows told us it was a Lord Gawd woodpecker. I'll never forget what
an impressive figure he cut--we have tons of woodpeckers in north Texas, but they are
small, nimble guys. The Lord God was larger than a crow, and more colorful than a velvet ant.
Now they think he made be gone--I've got a mixture of sadness for things past, and a measure of hope and assurance, for nothing ever gets lost in the woods of my native area without being someday found again.

Understory plants by the creek are getting green leaved, but another side trip to Arbor Hills Nature Center in Plano showed only the browns
and wild berry reds of a winter not yet moving along.

I'm nearly through with Art Attack, a very nice overview of the avant garde in art. What an interesting story, and yet so many side roads they took. To be able to illumine a problem is not to solve it. As I sit in my tract home in the suburbs, though, I feel about as advance guard
as the first car getting onto the freeway for the morning commute to the office.